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Promotions: A Tactic Best Served Branded

A word of caution to those who would compete on price alone. Make that two words of caution – Pizza Hut.

Perhaps more than any other QSR, Pizza Hut has made a career out of discounting. To the point where their brand is essentially a coupon.

Promotional strategies such as Dollar Menus and “Everyday Low Prices” have their place, and can work wonders in generating trial and foot traffic. But if that’s all you’ve got, you’re not doing your brand any favors.

After 20 years of watching Pizza Hut commercials, we know very little about them. We know we can get any pizza, with any crust, and any toppings for ten bucks. But that’s about it. We don’t know the first thing about how their food tastes. Or if eating their pizza is a fun experience.

There are other QSRs that go heavy on price promotions, but they’re more diligent about propping their brand up along the way. Taco Bell entices us with fun descriptors such as “Crunchy, Chewy, Cheesy, Melty.” Subway’s “Five Dollar Foot Long” is much more powerful in the context of “Eat Fresh.” Even KFC promises us its “Original Recipe.”

Whatever Pizza Hut gains in temporary sales figures with each highly publicized promotion, they lose in product preference and consumer loyalty. Those are powerful weapons to forfeit in a highly competitive segment. This is no way to manage a brand.

Consumers need more to sink their teeth into.

– Alec Lawson